UN: Continuation of Taiz siege is war crime

UN: Continuation of Taiz siege is   war crime

Alsahwa Net- The Houthis-imposed siege on the Yemeni city of Taiz is a mass punishment and a multifaceted human rights violation, a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts says.

The report was presented during the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council that took place in Geneva from 9 to 27 September 2019.

Since they were driven out of Taiz in July 2015 by the pro-government forces, the Houthis have been imposing a siege on Taiz in an attempt to recapture the city, the report said.

It explained that the blockade on Taiz had great bad consequences on civilians whereby the city ran short of food stuff, water and medications.   

The repot highlighted that the first phase of the siege continued from July 2015 until March 2016 where the Houthis-manned checkpoints were arbitrarily closing roads, stopping people crossing the road for hours, inspecting and confiscating all goods carried by people including vegetables and other food stuff.

The Houthis militants at the security checkpoints were even harassing women who attempted to cross into or out of the city, according to women testimonies quoted by the report.

The Houthis gunmen were tearing down food bags that used to be carried by the women, the report said.

It showed pictures of militants chasing civilians at a security checkpoint. The militants were beating the civilians and shooting randomly into the air. 

The Houthis deployed snipers nearby the security checkpoints to target the road users, according to the report.

It documented arbitrary detentions that took place nearby security checkpoints. It indicated that the civilians were vulnerable to such detentions when they cross the road or when being checked.

Within this siege, the Houthis have also restricted the humanitarian work in Taiz.

It said that the Houthis had not only impeded entry of aids into Taiz, they also diverted destinations of aids or confiscated food aids.

Patients were the first to pay a heavy price to the siege. The siege had inhibited the kidney disease patients from going to dialysis centers.  And school children and college students have become unable to go to schools.

The eminent experts concluded that they had found evidence that the Houthis fighters have used the siege as a method of mass punishment against residents of Taiz city because of their support to the anti-Houthis forces and the government.

The report indicated that the International Humanitarian law prohibits the use of starvation as a war instrument or any other forms of mass punishments.

“The use of starvation as a military instrument is a war crime in non-international conflicts and such crimes can bring perpetrators to individual criminal liability,” the report concluded.




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